A few months ago I read that writers should be allowed only 2643 exclamation marks in their writing career. Or whatever. That can't be! How can that be? That's when I began to pay attention to how often I use an ex mark and for what purpose and that's when I began to realize that I was addicted. Well, it can't be that bad. I mean, everyone uses them. But it's very hard to break the habit. I keep a daily journal, which is the reason I don't commune with my blog every day, (How often can one bear these revelations?)
You can see how easy it is. I just add that little sign and it raises, or so I hope, my writing to a higher level of adrenalin, emotion, intensity and significance. I wish! (Oh, dear!)
I looked it up. Yes, we all know what an exclamation mark is, everyone knows. But perhaps I've been taking it for granted, as well as my use of it. Well, Look at this (from Wikipedia):
"The exclamation mark, exclamation point, bang, or dembanger is a punctuation mark usually used after an nterjection or exclamation to indicate strong feeling or high volume (shouting), and often marks the end of sentence. Example: “Watch out!”… This punctuation mark is called, in the newspaper world, "a screamer, a gasper [or] a startler"."
I guess I've been using it as a screamer, occasionally as a gasper, and not enough as a startler. I mean, whom am I trying to startle? Because I (over-)use the 'bang' in my diary as a signpost to myself that I am upset, overwrought, astonished (as opposed to surprised), or - admit it - lazy. And so, for the past several months I have been suffering withdrawal symptoms as I tried to wean myself from my dependency. It's not easy. Note: a couple of weeks ago I would have added the dembanger (is that a word? It's not in my dictionary) after easy. At least I've learned a new word.
I have also learned new ways to emphasize what I write in my diary. It's very messy. I underline words, some times several times. I draw boxes around them, or balloons. I write arrows in the margins to draw my attention to tasks I must perform. Because most often in my case an ex mark follows an imperative, a self-directed order to DO SOMETHING . Oh yes, caps, too.